Articles Posted in Minnesota Supreme Court

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The court of appeals reversed the jury verdict for Appellant and awarded Respondent’s request to tax costs and disbursements for the appeal. Most of the award was for the interest that Respondent incurred on a loan that it obtained to enable it to post a supersedes bond, which was used to secure the judgment on the jury’s verdict during the appeal. Appellant sought review of the court of appeals’ taxation decision, arguing that the interest was not taxable on appeal. The Supreme Court granted a writ of prohibition and reversed the court of appeals’ decision to allow taxation of borrowing costs, holding that Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 139 does not permit the taxation of borrowing costs under the circumstances of this case. View "Klapmeier vs. Cirrus Industries, Inc." on Justia Law

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In this arbitration dispute, the district court erred by directing the entry of final judgment rather than staying the proceeding, and the court of appeals, faced with a final appealable judgment, should have vacated the judgment and entered a stay of the underlying action pending completion of the arbitration. Plaintiff sued Defendants to stop arbitration proceedings after Defendants demanded arbitration and an arbitrator determined that the dispute was arbitrable. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendants and compelled arbitration. Instead of staying the underlying action, the district court directed the entry of judgment. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the district court’s order was a final judgment because it dismissed, rather than stayed, the underlying proceeding. The court of appeals disagreed and dismissed the appeal as taken from a nonfinal order and judgment. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the district court erred by directing the entry of final judgment rather than staying the proceeding, as required by Minn. Stat. 572B.07(f); and (2) the proper course for the court of appeals, faced with a final judgment that was appealable under Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 103.03(a), was to direct the district court to vacate the judgment and enter a stay of the underlying action pending completion of the arbitration. View "City of Rochester v. Kottschade" on Justia Law

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Respondent brought suit against Appellant by service of a summons and complaint, raising claims of negligence, assault and battery. The case was pending when Minn. R. Civ. P. 5.04(a) went into effect. The case was subsequently deemed to be dismissed with prejudice under the new Rule 5.04(a). Respondent moved to vacate the judgment under Minn. R. Civ. P. 60.02, arguing that Rule 5.04(a) violated his right o procedural due process and that relief was warranted due to excusable neglect. The district court concluded that Rule 60.02 is inapplicable to a dismissal under Rule 5.04(a) or, alternatively, that Respondent failed to establish all four requirements for relief under Rule 60.02. The court of appeals reversed and remanded. The Supreme Court affirmed as modified, holding (1) Rule 60.02 applies to a dismissal under Rule 5.04(a); (2) a dismissal under Rule 5.04(a) does not violate procedural due process; and (3) the district court failed to make findings sufficient to enable appellate review of its Rule 60.02 finding. View "Gams v. Houghton" on Justia Law

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Respondent brought a civil suit against Appellant. After Respondent transmitted the summons, complaint, and affidavit of service, Appellant filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that Respondent failed to timely file. Respondent filed a motion to vacate under Minn. R. Civ. P. 60.02, arguing that his counsel’s admitted neglect in timely filing was excusable because of counsel’s ignorance of the law. The district court dismissed the action, concluding that ignorance of the law by Respondent’s counsel was not excusable neglect under Rule 60.02. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed as modified, holding that the district court abused its discretion by failing to consider all four requirements from Finden v. Klaas. Remanded to the district court for reconsideration of Respondent’s Rule 60.02 motion. View "Cole v. Wutzke" on Justia Law

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Respondents filed a class-action complaint alleging, among other claims, that MoneyMutual, LLC, which operates a website allowing individuals to apply for short-term loans known as payday loans, matched Respondents with payday lenders that were unlicensed in Minnesota and that the terms of the payday loans were illegal. MoneyMutual moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. The district court denied the motion to dismiss, concluding that it could exercise specific personal jurisdiction over MoneyMutual based on MoneyMutual’s email correspondence with residents and advertising in Minnesota. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that sufficient minimum contacts existed for the exercise of personal jurisdiction over MoneyMutual and that exercising personal jurisdiction over MoneyMutual comported with notions of fair play and substantial justice. View "Rilley v. MoneyMutual, LLC" on Justia Law

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Whitney National Bank (Whitney) obtained a judgment against Daniel Fitzpatrick and his business entities (collectively, Fitzpatrick). In a separate matter, Fitzpatrick, represented by O’Brien & Wolf, LLP, obtained a judgment against the City of Oronoco. Whitney served a garnishment summons on the City to establish and perfect a garnishment lien against the judgment proceeds won by Fitzpatrick. O’Brien subsequently filed a motion to establish and determine the amount and priority of its attorney’s lien. The district court held that Whitney’s garnishment lien was superior to O’Brien’s attorney’s lien, concluding that a cause-of-action attorney’s lien is perfected, as against third parties, from the time the attorney files notice of the lien claim. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the plain language of Minn. Stat. 481.13(1)(a)(1) does not require an attorney with a cause-of-action attorney’s lien to file notice of the lien claim for the lien to have priority over third-party claims. View "City of Oronoco v. Fitzpatrick Real Estate, LLC" on Justia Law

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The City of Vadnais Heights imposed an assessment on real property owned by McCullough and Songs, Inc. McCullough appealed the City’s decision. The City moved for summary judgment, arguing that McCullough was precluded from appealing because it had failed to file a written objection to the proposed assessment. The district court denied the motion. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that a party opposed to a proposed amendment must object in writing before or at the assessment hearing to preserve its right to appeal the assessment to the district court. McCullough appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, vacated the court of appeals’ decision, and remanded, holding that the court of appeals lacked jurisdiction to review the order denying summary judgment to the City. View "McCullough & Sons, Inc. v. City of Vadnais Heights" on Justia Law

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Respondent filed suit against appellant for personal injuries he suffered as a result of an automobile accident. Respondent attempted to serve the summons and complaint on appellant via certified mail. The district court concluded that appellant was not properly served before the statute of limitations expired and therefore dismissed the complaint. The court of appeals reversed and remanded. The court held that service of process via certified mail does not constitute personal service under Minn. R. Civ. P. 4.03. Accordingly, the court reversed the court of appeals' decision and reinstated the district court's judgment of dismissal with prejudice. View "Melillo v Heitland" on Justia Law

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Kelly Dennis was allegedly injured in the course of his employment with The Salvation Army. Dennis filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, but The Salvation Army and its insurer (collectively, Relators) denied liability. The compensation judge awarded Dennis benefits, and the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals (WCCA) affirmed. Within thirty days, Relators filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the clerk of the appellate courts. Relators, however, failed to serve a cost bond on the WCCA as required by Minn. Stat. 176.471. Relators subsequently served an untimely cost bond on the WCCA. At issue before the Supreme Court was whether timely service of the cost bond was mandatory to have the WCCA order reviewed by the Supreme Court on certiorari. The Supreme Court discharged the writ of certiorari and dismissed the appeal, holding that Relators’ failure to file the cost bond within the thirty-day period to appeal was fatal to their appeal. View "Dennis v. Salvation Army" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against Defendants for medical malpractice. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint for insufficient process and and insufficient service of process. The district court (1) denied the motions to dismiss for insufficient process, concluding that, although the summons and complaint were defective due to the lack of a Minnesota attorney’s signature, the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure granted the court discretion to allow the summons and complaint to be cured by amendment; and (2) denied the motions to dismiss for insufficient service of process as to some defendants, finding those defendants to have been validly served, but granted the motions with respect to the remaining defendants. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the summons and complaint bearing only the signature of an attorney not licensed to practice in Minnesota were defective, but the district court did not abuse its discretion in allowing them to be amended; and (2) Plaintiffs in this case produced sufficient evidence of effective service, and Defendants did not satisfy their burden to prove that service was not effective, and therefore, the district court erred in granting Defendants’ motion to dismiss for insufficient service. View "DeCook v. Olmsted Med. Ctr., Inc." on Justia Law